Ambuyat – The Edible Gooey Bornean delicacies
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If you are looking for that unique taste of Bornean delicacies, I will recommend you to go and try the Ambuyat!
It is one of the unique food that can be found in Borneo as it is very gooey and it looks like glue when it is served. It has various names such as the Pinantung, Ambuyat, Sagu and many more and they can be found in almost all parts of Borneo as it is eaten by a majority of natives in Borneo.
The Ambuyat before it is cooked looks like flour; white powdery form and you can buy them in local markets or Tamu around Borneo. They are usually sold in packs and some people say it looks like a pack of starch.
The Pinantung is a very famous dish amongst the native community (Kadazan, Dusun, Rungus, and etc etc) here in Sabah but it is also famous in the Bruneian community up to the Sarawakian community. To my surprise, this dish can also be found in eastern parts of Indonesia and it is very similar to the one we get here and the name is Papeda or Bubur Sagu. The Papeda is a famous dish for the local native people in Maluku and also Papua New Guinea.
Another similar version as Ambuyat
In Indonesia, the name of this local delicacy is called the Papeda. It is the same exact thing if you look closely. Well, it’s good to know that people from other parts of the world are eating the same food as yours. Both the Ambuyat and also Papeda is from the trunk of the sago palm. For those who don't know, the Ambuyat is a national dish in Brunei. Let’s get to the best part about this dish which is the preparation of this dish. The preparation of this dish is unique as it doesn’t need any fire or pan to cook it. All you need is a hot water and a reliable wooden spoon to prepare this dish and it is a very easy dish to prepare. Once you've mastered it, preparing the Ambuyat is like ringing a bell.
Just pour the Sago Starch into the bowl and next pour in some hot water and gently give a light stir and keep pouring the hot water in until it thickens up. Once it coagulates, give it a light scoop and if it’s in a sticky form, then it is ready to be served. Eating the ambuyat is a little tricky with a spoon so the best way to eat them is by using a traditional chopstick called the Candas, which looks like the Chinese chopsticks but is thinner and made from sago leaf stalk or bamboo stick, to scoop the gooey Ambuyat.
The Candas is one of the essential that you will need to eat the Ambuyat
With the candas, it is easier to scoop the Ambuyat. Just put the front tip of the Candas into the Ambuyat, give it a little twist, pull and you’re good to go! For those who are having a hard time with the Candas can always use the good ol’ fork.
Believe or not, the Ambuyat is actually tasteless! Yes, they are tasteless I repeat. That is why when you’re eating the Ambuyat it is important to have your own customized dipping. The dipping can be either be a local fish soup called the Pinasakan, a canned sardine with tomato sauce, curry or anything that you like. Add some hot spicy chillies, some lime juice, or maybe a pinch of salt for that extra taste or just throw in some small slices of Bambangan (Local Mango) for that good sweet and sour taste. The Ambuyat will taste better if the dipping soup is based on your taste. The best dipping for the Ambuyat is the Pinasakan as it will give every scoop a superb spicy taste with a little extra flavours from the fish.
It’ll add taste to your Ambuyat with the Pinasakan. Add some Bambangan and some extra hot chillies too for that Red Hot Chili Peppery taste. A little chilli won't hurt the tongue.
Another famous dipping for the Ambuyat is the classic canned sardine with tomato sauce and some cut chilies and a squeeze of lemon for that sweet, sour, and hot taste to your Ambuyat. All these dippings will make the Ambuyat taste better but for me, the good ol canned sardine is the unbeatable champion for all and also one of my personal favourites for the dipping. The Ambuyat may be tasteless but with the right dipping, I'm sure it’ll make your appetite go wild.
Next time if you happen to visit Borneo, make sure to put the Ambuyat in your bucket list as this is one of the unique food that you shouldn't miss trying when you’re visiting Borneo. So if you are in Borneo, look for the Ambuyat and get right into the Gooey Action!
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